Towards a More Credible Principle of Beneficence

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My objective of this paper is to suggest and workout a more credible form of the Principle of Beneficence from the common essential elements of the three major ethical theories (Deontology, Utilitarianism and Virtue Ethics) that will try to overcome the over-demanding objection of Utilitarianism and the rigorism of Kant’s Deontology. After analyzing these three moral systems, I find that beneficence lies within the very essence of humanity. Human beings are superior to other creatures in the world due to rationality and humanity. From the humanitarian ground, a common goodness lies within every human. Beneficence, as a moral principle, is derived from this inner humanity of every individual. Despite their initial differences, utilitarianism, deontology and virtue ethics recognize this fundamental humanitarian disposition of doing good for all as a part of being a morally better person. The principle of beneficence as I suggest, is different from its consequential utilitarian notion suggested by Mill. This version of beneficence is more credible as it does not impose excessive demands upon an individual to develop any maximum beneficial outcome following utilitarian calculation of beneficence over cost, and it also strives to overcome the rigorous duty-based theory of Kantian deontology by appealing to the fundamental virtue of humanity. Finally, the credibility of this form of beneficence comes from the underlying transcendental humanism which is the chief feature of Indian tradition.
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Archival date: 2021-11-16
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